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In California, One Wildfire Suppressed as Another Blaze Grows

by Phil McCausland /
A firefighter walks near a home as flames from the fast-moving Detwiler fire approach on Wednesday.Stephen Lam / Reuters

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Authorities lifted an evacuation order for a Southern California wildfire on Sunday as a second blaze in Central California grew.

West of Santa Barbara, the inferno known as the Whittier Fire, which burned through 18,430 acres and destroyed 16 homes, had largely abated by Sunday afternoon, according to fire officials who had previously ordered evacuations shortly after the fire started on July 10.

The fire had not grown for several days, and it was 87 percent contained, officials said. Personnel were on patrol to mop up and work on suppression repairs.

A firefighter walks near a home as flames from the fast-moving Detwiler fire approach on Wednesday.Stephen Lam / Reuters

But north of Whittier, a second blaze continued to grow after it had burned through more than 100 buildings — including 63 homes. Called the Detwiler Fire, it has scorched 76,000 acres since it started a week ago. Several minor injuries have been reported, but no deaths.

Officials believe 40 percent of the Detwiler FIre is now contained.

Photos: California Wildfire Threatens Gold Rush-Era Towns

Firefighters have worked to complete and improve direct and secondary fire lines to undermine the fire's growth since Saturday night, California fire officials said. They hope to have it fully contained by the first week of August.

Nevertheless, 1,500 structures are threatened by the flames and a cause remains under investigation.

In the meantime, more than 500 fire engines are on the scene supported from the air by helicopters and air tankers.

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